Thursday, October 12, 2006

Pleasure Reading

This section is a fun place for us to simply share good books that we're reading! Please use the comment section to tell us about what you're reading (anything--fiction, nonfiction, children's books, etc.) and why you do or don't recommend it! All are welcome to post. :)


  1. Mmmmmm, books. Delicious books.

    Let's see. My favorite genre is the gothic novel. You know, books like Jane Eyre, Great Expectations, or my favorite in this genre, Rebecca. A recent favorite gothic novel (one of those you-cannot-put-this-down books) is The Shadow of the Wind. I highly recommend it.

    I really like all kinds of books, so I'll list a few recent favorites -- The Chosen by Chaim Potok, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, and the aforementioned Shadow of the Wind.

    I'm currently reading Nine Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks. It's all about the influence of Islam on women, particularly women in the Middle East. It's fascinating! I'm on the first chapter and have already learned so much.

    Our family loves to read and we're always reading!! With regard to children's books, we have a lot of favorite authors including Sandra Boynton, Mary Pope Osborne, and Mo Willems. Kate really enjoys The Magic Tree House series. She's devouring the series. She's also enjoying Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew. Maxim heartily enjoys Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late, The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog, Knuffle Bunny, and Leonardo the Terrible Monster.

    My husband is a voracious reader (and writer). He's posting here next.

  2. So, I've been reading a lot lately.

    I recently finished the fifth of the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer. They're all fun reads and quite unique. He develops an entire "underground" world of fairies and magic that interact with the modern world through a high school genius. The books have sort of a "Harry Potter meets Tom Clancy" kind of feel.

    I also finished the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud. He is a childrens' book editor turned author and these are extremely good books. Again, in the fantasy realm, this trilogy is about the djinni Bartimaeus and his interactions with a young magician. Together they (reluctantly) team up to combat evil in the modern era, although an era set parallel to ours. They are well-written and thought provoking. I highly recommend them.

    Let's see, what else . . .

    If you are looking for an interesting look into the mind of an author and the writing process try out On Writing by Stephen King. I'm not a Stephen King fan, but he did a great job showing how he goes about writing and includes a very practical approach to writing, rewriting, and editing at the end of the book. If you enjoy reading Stephen King at all you'll probably enjoy this even more.

    If you like historical fiction I can recommend a couple of series by Bernard Cornwell. I read the three books in The Warlord Chronicles earlier this summer. The first of the series is The Winter King. It is a novel approach to the rise of King Arthur as protector of Britain. Given that the particulars of Arthur and his knights is 1 part truth and 9 parts fiction, Mr. Cornwell's take is very fascinating. I ended up reading the entire series very quickly and it was over too soon.

    I'm currently reading Vagabond, the second book in Bernard Cornwell's Grail Quest Series. It follows the story of Thomas of Hookton, an English archer during the Hundred Years' Wars who discovers he is part of a French family rumored to be in possession of The Holy Grail. Throughout the books he vascillates between wanting to simply be a soldier for his country and longing to discover the hiding place of the Grail. The Archer's Tale is the first book in the series. It was originally published under the title of Harlequin in England.

    Well, I'm sure there is more, but I'll stop there. I'll post more as I come across them.

  3. A book is a moveable feast. All the same, I have them all over the house. For serious kitchen table reading, there's Bush's Brain. American Theocracy -- yet uncracked -- is sitting in the office, and for late-night reading, it's John le Carre's The Constant Gardener by the bedside.

    I don't read as much sci-fi/fantasy as I used to, but find that I am attracted to those authors who are world-builders -- Patrick O'Brien, Stephen King (for the Dark Tower series), William Gibson, Umberto Eco, Margaret Atwood, and Marion Zimmer Bradley are some of my favorites.

    My guilty pleasure is Elizabeth Peters's Amelia Peabody series. Set in Victorian-era (and, later, WWI and post-War) Egypt, these books are part Egyptology, part romance, part mystery, and all kinds of fun.

    And when I have time to myself, late at night, I settle down for a good session of radio listening over at the BBC. I can finally say that I have "read" Dickens's The Old Curiosity Shop and Mark Haddon's A Spot of Bother (but enjoyed the comedy of Eddie Izzard much, much more).

    Online books: The perfect synthesis of dead media and technology!

  4. ISO: Book series for children.

    What book series have your children enjoyed? What were the favorites of your childhood?

    Going through the attic the other night, I was reminded of some of my favorites: J.D. Fitzgerald's Great Brain books, Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quartet, Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide, C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys. I've read some of the newer series -- Artemis Fowl, Harry Potter -- but feel like I'm missing more recent series (and forgetting some old ones).

    What collections have you and your children read and liked?

  5. Well, besides the children's books we've already mentioned in our first comment, we've just this week discovered David Wiesner. He has some really neat books out! He is a master of visual storytelling. We're enjoying "Tuesday" quite a bit. We've actually all belly laughed again and again with it. We love it. Delightful book!

  6. More recommendations . . .

    When last I wrote, I had started Vagabond by Bernard Cornwell, and now I've finished it and Heretic, the final book in the Grail Quest series. I really liked this series. I've always liked medieval stories with knights and castle sieges and adventures and . . . . If you enjoy the grail legend type of stories then this series is a must-read! I couldn't put the final book down and while it was all over too soon, I was equally satisfied with how it all wrapped up. Two thumbs up, five stars, however many snaps, etc.

    Tonight I just finished reading Peter and the Starcatchers by (yes, you're reading this correctly) Dave Barry (!) and Ridley Pearson. On the acknowledgement page the authors thank Ridley Pearson's daughter for asking one night after story time exactly how a flying boy met a one-handed pirate. I'm not a huge Peter Pan fan so I wondered how much I would like this, but it received glowing reviews from our local librarian and I was extremely curious to see how much Dave Barry came through in this one, so I gave it a try. Actually, somehow I had book two in my hands first, and about 4 or 5 chapters in I realized I needed to read book 1 first, but I was already hooked (no pun intended!). So two days and 450 pages later I can't wait to dive into book 2. This is written for the teenager in mind, but thoroughly enjoyable for an adult (assuming I qualify). Many of the chapters are shorter and shift scenes quickly like a good swashbuckling movie. Again, I highly recommend it.

    I'll post more as I read them!

  7. We have a book club site that has a lot of great books and information on it. You can check it out here:

    Food For Thought Book Club


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